Unlike last season, when he took nearly three weeks to accept a summer demotion to Triple-A, Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella would be willing to head to the minors without incident this year, according to manager Joe Maddon (via Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago). A season-opening role with Triple-A Iowa is a possibility for La Stella, who’s battling outfielder Matt Szczur for the Cubs’ final bench spot. Szczur is the only one of the two who’s out of options, which could bode poorly for La Stella. The Cubs “haven’t decided everything or anything yet,” per Maddon, but he believes Szczur is a major league-caliber player and an ideal teammate.
More from the National League:
- Yangervis Solarte (second base) and non-roster invitee Erick Aybar (shortstop) are likely to open the season as the Padres’ double-play combination, manager Andy Green suggested to Owen Perkins of MLB.com on Saturday. Solarte has spent the majority of his career at third base, but he also has experience at the keystone. His move across the diamond will open up the hot corner for a combo of Ryan Schimpf, who emerged from anonymity to hit 20 home runs as a 28-year-old rookie last season, and Cory Spangenberg. Aybar, meanwhile, has long been a capable shortstop, but he endured a poor 2016 split between Atlanta and Detroit and then settled for a minor league deal with the Padres last month. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old has impressed Green. “Erick’s done a lot of things we really like in camp so far,” said Green. “I enjoy the type of person he is, the way his mind works, the way he’s hit the ball around the yard.”
- Career minor leaguer Jose Martinez has won the Cardinals’ fourth outfielder spot, leading the team to demote Tommy Pham to Triple-A Memphis. This is the second straight year the Cardinals have chosen an untested 28-year-old for a reserve outfielder role. Jeremy Hazelbaker, now with the Diamondbacks, unexpectedly emerged last spring and then slashed a useful .235/.295/.480 with 12 homers in 224 plate appearances as a rookie. Martinez, a .324/.392/.483 hitter in 885 Triple-A plate trips, has mashed this spring en route to a roster spot. Pham hasn’t, further influencing St. Louis’ decision, but he does own a quality .245/.333/.455 line in 358 major league PAs.
- As of earlier this week, the Dodgers considered outfielder Andre Ethier doubtful for Opening Day on account of a “mild” herniated disk in his lower back. It now appears Ethier’s a lock to miss the beginning of the season, as the soon-to-be 35-year-old won’t resume baseball activities until the first week of April, tweets Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers don’t consider Ethier’s injury a serious one, though. “I think it’s actually a good sign,” said manager Dave Roberts. “It’s not a six- to eight-week thing as I understand it” (Twitter link via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register).
SD Fan in AZ
So the Padres are going to flip 2 second baseman to 3rd and the less mobile, less athletic third baseman to second.
I agree, this move is somewhat confusing.
Ryan is a natural third baseman
Solarte played more time at 2B in the minors than 3B. He should be able to handle it.
He’s just so slow. That foot speed can’t translate well to second base.
I would prefer to see him at 3B, but Solarte definitely has better range than Schimpf. If Solarte has to move, at least its to his natural position.
Tell that to Jed
Solarte is quicker than jed was
Yeah, Lowrie wasn’t a good second baseman either. Not a great comp.
I think he was talking about Gyorko.
Oh. Whoops. That’s what I meant. Must have had Jed Lowrie on the brain for some reason.
When have lowrie and solarte been team mates?
I just have missed that
Is there such a thing as a “mild” herniated disk? Fortunately, I have no personal experience but I bet they all are debilitating and hurt like a b****.
When they can heal without surgery, I guess they are considered “mild.” Kershaw had the same condition last year. After missing weeks it sure looked like surgery was in his future, but it was allowed to heal without and they gave him strengthening exercises to help prevent a recurrence.
Yes, it could be mild. Nearly half of the population has a herniated disk, but only a fraction have any symptoms. It’s a bit of a mystery. Therapy might be enough to relieve Ethier of inflammation and other symptoms. Or not – it’s tough to predict.
Schimpf played better defense at third for the padres than at 2nd.
He posted a UZR of 2.1 in about 110 innings last year.
Limited sample size, but why not if you want to improve defense.
I don’t think there is much you can take from that small of a sample size. A few years back Tom Tango said that you need 3 years of data for either DRS or UZR to begin to be a good predictor of performance. Schimpf might be better at 3B, but you really can’t tell that from the sample you have.
“Schimpf played better defense at third for the padres than at 2nd.”
But did he draw rave reviews for his defense at 3B?
So does Sardinas have options? What’s the point of losing him off the roster to have Aybar go out there for a year? Might as well see what Sardinas can do.
If he has options then it doesn’t matter.
The only way I see Aybar on the roster would be leadership and experience
The article about options on Fangraphs said he does not have an option left. Not sure how Sardinas has done in spring training, but he has not been very good in his career. I would say that naming Aybar the starter means that he is not part of the Padres plans.
In the small sample size from last year shows he should get one more shot.
But Aybar offers a much needed veteran experience that is lacked on this team, so I get it.
He got another shot in spring training and blew it. Sardinas is just not a good player. His career numbers are terrible. .237/.287/.593 over parts of 3 seasons tells the story.
He looks totally lost at the plate in spring training and that is against mostly minor league pitching. He has no walks in 39 AB and is hitting .179 with no power. If he was playing lights out defense then he might have a shot at making the team, but he has not looked good.
Course you cant tell. But with as bad as theyre expected to be this year and next why not try schimpf at 3rd. Its not like itll make them any worse doing such and could increase his trade value if he proves to be capable of handling 3rd and posts a similar batting line like last year.
Solarte family issues definitely forced their hands. He was going to be traded.
I don’t think he’s gonna mind much. When he has a WS ring half the size of his fist.
A bit of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic here. No mention of the fact that Schimpf has looked terrible this spring and everything about his line last season screams “fluke.”
This is why Preller should have sold high on him during the offseason. I know it’s just Spring Training, but now it’s all looking more like a fluke.
Were there even buyers for this guy? Especially if it required negotiating with Preller.
It requiring negotiating with Preller had no bearing on the matter. There weren’t buyers on Schimpf because no one on this planet thinks he can sustain what he did in 2016.
Schimpf did fall off towards end of year and good spring training for him would of been nice
The Padres are most likely hedging the bets that Solarte’s bat, and contract, will be more wanted at 2nd base than 3rd at the trade deadline. They tried trading him over the winter as a 3rd baseman and got no takers, showcasing him at 2nd where is versatility will be shown, might get a couple of teams interested.
@wrek305 He definitely will mind when he’s young, has proven to be a quality option, and wants a shot at playing time. He already has a ring. He wants to earn a paycheck now.
Ironically Optimistic Padres Fan
I think we’ll actually hit ok this year.
What makes you think we’ll hit ok? This may be the worst team we have had in years. I know “it’s only spring training,” but did you notice our record in the Cactus League?? I’ll bet Bud Black is thankful to be somewhere his team actually has a chance…
A chance at disappointment
Well yeah Gonzie went yard and same with blackie let’s not forget about storie
He shortens all their names and adds an i.e.
So glad I don’t have to listen to that chump anymore
@wustlbears he’s earning a paycheck with spot starts. He’ll be fine. Every other team wouldn’t even give him a chance. Maddon will. He’s in the perfect scenario.
Solarte is slow and average to below average fielder don’t think he’s fetching much and teams were not that interested. He got benched for not hustling
Again SS is a mess for the Pads. Hopefully for 2018 they’re looking to trade some of their younger prospects for a blocked prospect who is closer to the bigs. Unfortunately at a premium position its not going to be cheap, but they’re going to have a serious log-jam of talent in the A level next year after fielding 2 Rookie league teams this year so they need to do something.
Khallil Greene to rescue